Senate panel unanimously approves quadrupling missile defense aid to Israel

by WorldTribune Staff, May 31, 2016

The Senate Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved an increase in spending on Israeli missile defense that is four times more than what President Barack Obama had requested.

The increase proposes $600 million in funding for fiscal year 2017 – an increase of $113 million from last year and $454 million over Obama’s request.

The Senate bill includes a large increase for the David's Sling system. /IDF photo
The Senate bill includes a large increase in funding for the David’s Sling system. /IDF

The increase was spearheaded in committee by Republican Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mark Kirk of Illinois who objected to sharp cuts proposed by the White House in BMD aid to the Jewish state for fiscal 2017.

The committee said the increased aid is intended to “continue the modernization” of Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense systems such as Iron Dome and David’s Sling which are already among the most advanced in the world.

The Senate bill includes a large increase in support for the David’s Sling medium-range program, Israel’s newest tier of advanced missile defense.

The increase in missile defense funding to Israel is not unprecedented: After Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza in 2014, Congress approved $620 million in missile defense funding the following year.

According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, “it remains unclear if or how action by Congress will affect Israel’s negotiations with the Obama administration over a new, 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), set to replace an expiring one and intended to guarantee Israel’s long-term defense and qualitative military edge in the Middle East.”